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Councilor Candice Pitts, Gilroy Usher and the PUP’s UWG

HighlightsCouncilor Candice Pitts, Gilroy Usher and the PUP’s UWG

BELIZE CITY, Mon. May 7, 2018– On March 7, 2018, Dr. Candice Pitts, a first-time political aspirant, topped the polls in the Belize City municipal elections, helping to regain the old capital for the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP).

Following the PUP’s successful campaign, Dr. Pitts submitted her candidacy to become the Port Loyola standard bearer.

Her aspirations for national office, however, fizzled when the PUP Secretary General, Linsford Castillo, wrote her on May 2, thanking her for her interest, but explaining that the Party’s vetting committee thinks that Gilroy Usher, Sr., is the PUP’s choice for Port Loyola, and she should support his endorsement convention on May 20.

In a Facebook post on her personal page, Dr. Pitts made some very unflattering remarks about the PUP and its United Women’s Group, which, she said, had not supported her candidacy for Port Loyola standard bearer.

Dr. Pitts began her post by explaining that she owes an explanation to the residents of Port Loyola who supported her.

The post then went on to castigate the PUP. Dr. Pitts wrote: “Once again, instead of listening to the residents of Port, certain members of the PUP have dictated a decision for them. They endorsed the infantile behavior of what we can only define as a political coward, rejected a convention, and imposed a ‘leader’ on the residents of Port. As a result, they have disenfranchised many Port Loyolans, and have indicated that these residents should settle for mediocre leadership and representation.”

The PUP’s United Women’s group came in for special criticism from Dr. Pitts.

“While the male-dominance, elitism, and disinterest in the southside of Belize City are perhaps expected from these members of the PUP, I am most disappointed in the United Women’s Group, the women’s arm of the PUP. On Sunday, February 4, the UWG conducted a women’s forum in the City of Belmopan.

“In front of a multitude of women, some of whom were byproducts of a society hostile towards women, certain members of the UWG pretended to care about the well-being of women in the socio-cultural and political sectors of our society. They fervently pressed for better representation of women in the political arena and adamantly demanded the 30% representation of women in political leadership.

“Yet, though I am one of the only two women who have been making preparations to contest the general elections, no member of the UWG has publicly supported my candidacy. Their reason for doing so is perhaps consistent with that of the upper echelon of the PUP,” she said.

Not finished, Dr. Pitts continued her angry outburst: “The PUP also seems to have an equivocal position on the inclusion of youths in the democratic and political processes. They seem to use our youthfulness to garner votes from young members …yet use our attendant characteristics against us: our zeal, energy, newness, and passion.

“Instead, a decadent and oftentimes an ‘old-man self-entitlement-politics’ mentality prevailed and continues to prevail in our society (as in the case of Port), and at the expense of the care and development our country truly deserves and the new vision it should have.

“Fundamentally, what those members of the PUP have made vividly clear to me on May 2nd, 2018, is that: I am young; a woman from Port; of a particular race and therefore good enough to be in local government, but not good enough to be in the National Assembly.”

The PUP’s United Women’s Group president Tanya Santos wrote PUP party leader, Hon. John Briceño, about Dr. Pitts’ “disparaging and disrespectful remarks.”

Santos went on to tell the party leader, “For the record, Councilor Candice Pitts has never attended any meetings of the UWG, has not asked for support from the UWG executive, but on the contrary, called me to express that she expected UWG support, since she is a woman candidate and UWG was silent on her candidacy.

“The only event Councilor Candice Pitts attended was the Women’s Forum when she was an aspiring councilor candidate, and this only occurred with the help of Communications Director Narda Garcia, since she did not readily confirm to be a part of the program at first.”

Santos further stated, “Councilor Candice Pitts, in her statement, remarked that PUP members have ‘disinterest in the the Southside of Belize City’. We find this outrageous, since the PUP Council slate she ran on won on the message of the UDP neglect of the southside of Belize City. This message helped to deliver her to the City Council, and for her now to use the same message against her own party is outrageous and a disrespect to the wider PUP membership, and to the efforts of the Deputy National Leader of the PUP in his work on the southside and that of current and former PUP representatives of the southside.

“A member of the National Executive cannot be allowed to speak ill of the party and to be openly disrespectful in this manner. We, the members of the UWG executive, feel strongly about this and trust that Councilor Pitts will apologize to the UWG, and her two references [when she wanted to run], who are distinguished members of the UWG, and that she will focus on her portfolio at the Belize City Council, which the voters of Belize City elected her to do.

“We can appreciate that Councilor Candice Pitts disagrees with the vetting committee’s decision, but for her to cast aspersions on the party and on the UWG without any consequence to such action is contrary to the principled view of the founders of this great party — no man (or woman) is bigger than the party.”

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